How does Holden Caulfield, from Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, experience isolation?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Holden Caulfield, the protagonist of J.D. Salinger's The Catcher in the Rye, seems happy with his isolation. Given that he believes the world to be filled with "phonies," Holden does not feel negatively about the isolation he faces. In fact, his isolation is self-imposed. He wants to be isolated from all of the phonies in the world.

Phoebe, Holden's sister, even points out the fact that he revels in isolation (stating he fails to like anything). In fact, the only thing that Holden is honestly concerned with is Phoebe. This said, he does care about children (those younger than he). He wishes, more than anything, to stand at the edge of a cliff and save the children from plunging over the side. Therefore, Holden experiences isolation with a sense of welcome because he feels safe isolated from the things around him.


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